It’s somewhere around 4.30am when I start to notice something different. But it’s just a slight niggling feeling. I roll over in bed and try to ignore it.
About 15 minutes later the niggling feeling is now more of a scratching and gnawing feeling. I’m tired from not getting to sleep until 2am. I need this rest.
But it doesn’t go away. It gets louder. I can no longer ignore it.
It’s now 5am.
The digging. Scratching. Gnawing, are all now ever present. They have engulfed me. I am forced to wake up. And that’s when I see it.
There’s a big old scary grizzly bear right there in my bedroom. Before I’ve had a chance to jump out of bed, the bear is right up in my face. I can’t move. I can’t run. I am stuck. Frozen.
The only thing that moves in the room now is the swirling and twisting in my head. The churning, gnawing, digging in my stomach. And the rapidly increasing beat of my heart. It feels like it’s going to explode out of my chest. Or maybe just stop altogether.
I’m sure I wouldn’t be the first person to ever go into cardiac arrest from being attacked by a bear? Right?
The bear stares me down.
I feel powerless. I can’t possibly win against this beast.
At least that’s what it feels like. But my life experiences have taught me that I will actually survive this bear attack. By about 5.30am this knowledge creeps into my awareness and I decide to break my freeze.
My head keeps swirling. I feel sick, clammy, dizzy. My thoughts are cloudy. Clarity is a ways away. But I chase clear thoughts all the same, even though I know I can’t get there yet.
I make a cup of tea. I don’t offer the bear any. I’m a shitty host to arseholes. He can get his own fucking tea.
Now I start to do what I do in these moments. My strategies. After a while, the bear starts to back down.
And … breathe.
Anxiety sucks. And when it visits, I get exhausted.
I have been exhausted for more than a week now.
I’m lucky these days that my anxiety and/or depression comes and goes and is no longer a permanent state. Now it usually visits me if I have slipped up on my management of it. Or when I am confronting something or trying to change some crappy internal dialogue that I have run into.
Change is a pot stirrer, that’s for sure.
I am processing some very old crap at the moment. It seems the closer I get to my next Sydney trip, the louder that old crap becomes — the more the bear comes knocking. I’m not at all worried about my classes with Tibor. There is something else at play.
I have read that a lot of people who try to change major negative self-beliefs, aren’t successful because they can’t hold onto the belief that they deserve to change, long enough to break the cycle. I think a lot also depends on what your self-beliefs are, how long you have had them and where they are coming from.
I don’t want this to be a pity post. No, not at all. I will bounce back. I will dance. I will laugh. I will continue. But I want to remain honest about my journey. Remember that is how I started out. An honest account of what I am trying to do. Learning ballet from nowhereville. Healing my body and mind along the way. I never wanted to gloss over the sticky bits.
I’ve gotta dance with the bear. That’s just my reality and that’s okay. Granted, it doesn’t feel “okay” when panic sets in at 5am. But hey, it could be a lot worse. Like, a LOT a lot worse! And If I can get through the mud, then maybe my journey might help someone else to believe they can too.
There are many different ways to choreograph the dance with the bear. Some people medicate. Some people try to face it, and be at one with it. Others manage it with lifestyle. And I am sure some people try it all. I think you have to do whatever suits you and works for you.
For many people, these things don’t just disappear. They are constantly managing the state of their rise and fall. Making sure the dance steps are as smooth as possible. It’s a never ending dance piece.
Realising you have these issues is only one part of the whole story. But it seems to be the only part we ever see portrayed in the media or hear being talked about.
I wish more attention was brought to the everydayness of these issues.
And speaking of that…
I recently started listening to Osher Günsberg’s podcasts. His interviews make you feel like you’re a fly on the wall, listening to a great, relaxed conversation between two interesting people. He also talks about his journey with anxiety and depression in a more realistic, every-day way. Like, hey, it’s here. It’s part of me. And I work hard every day to keep on top of it. It’s only a smidgen of what he talks about. It’s not his whole gig or anything like that. But hearing his open and acknowledging approach to the issue was so refreshing to me. I hope he continues to be open about it in the public arena, as I am sure it will help other people not feel like they have to be so silent about their struggles.
I wanted to link here to Osher’s podcast site because they are seriously great listening. I’ve seen people tweet that they listen to the podcasts while cooking dinner. What a great idea! If I didn’t have a 12yr old child, I would definitely do that. But some of the content is a little sensitive for the kiddo’s ears. You can download any of the interviews you want to. The last one is pretty great. You can find them all here —> Osher Günsberg Podcasts
So back to the bear. Well, it may be more present over the next 10 days, but I will do what I do. And it will be okay. Seriously, the next 10 days can’t come fast enough! Hurry up already!
I’m looking forward to Sydney Day and getting through whatever it is that is surfacing.
Just my thoughts.
P.S Apologies if the poorly chosen metaphor “dancing with bears” in any way conjured up images of those poor chained up dancing bears!
P.P.S Apologies if you hadn’t thought of those poor dancing bears until my previous P.S! Maybe you could YouTube cute kittens or people doing stupid things?
P.P.P.S Don’t YouTube both of those together.